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Super Mario Galaxy and Nintendo’s continuing critical dominance

The arrival of Super Mario Galaxy marks the continuation of one of gaming's most beloved franchises. It also happens to mark the extension of Nintendo's remarkable streak of critical supremacy. According to the review aggregator site Game Rankings, the top-rated game for each of the last three console generations appeared exclusively on a Nintendo machine. So what does this mean?

Contrasting Crysis and Call of Duty 4: Why emergent gamplay is the future

Two of the most acclaimed of this whole bunch are Crysis and Call of Duty 4. Both were hotly anticipated and both have been well-received by gamers. But I thought that these two games are an interesting contrast – both are first-person shooters, but represent two sharply contrasting design philosophies.

Videogame length and the question of quality versus quantity

For most players, videogames are regarded as consumable products, like cheeseburgers. For them, longer game translates to better value and (supposedly) better game. For me, this kind of thinking seems not only narrow, but bad for videogames.

Doom and gloom for PC gaming

You can hear the cries of doom and gloom miles away: PC gaming is dying, dead, on the way out, yesterday's news, whatever. But is it really? Because when I look at PC gaming, I see not only a growing market, but a place that is still the premier platform for videogames.

Move over, BioShock: there's a videogame that poses even greater moral challenges

BioShock has attracted a great deal of attention for its central moral question of whether or not to rescue or harvest the little sisters. But as powerful as this dilemma was, there's another game that has left me feeling far more morally drained.

Why the Check Mii Out Channel is a complete sham

With the recent release of the Check Mii Out Channel (or Mii Contest Channel), I thought it might be a good time to voice some of my criticisms of the new channel and of the prospect of holding Mii contests in general. To get right to the point, the Check Mii Out Channel—both as a vehicle for hosting Mii contests and as a forum for recognizing talented Mii artists—is fundamentally useless and doomed to failure. In short, this latest Wii channel is too little, too late. Here's why.

Wii's Virtual Console imports not worth the wait

Since purchase, my Wii has seen very little action. Extremely little. The layer of dust on it is ridiculous. When a few import titles made their way to the Virtual Console, I was intrigued.  My first purchases from Nintendo's offerings, I downloaded Sin & Punishment and Super Mario Bros: the Lost Levels.

Videogame violence revisited

The latest issue of the highly respected journal Psychiatric Quarterly contains a meta-analysis of all peer-reviewed studies published in the last twelve years concerning the relationship between violent videogames and aggressive behavior. The conclusion? While the analysis found some evidence that videogames improve visuospatial cognition, it found zero evidence linking videogames with violent behavior.

More on Crysis: Facts, hacks, and shenanigans!

The Crysis demo has been created a real stir in the PC gaming community. Most of it is for good reasons—it's a great-looking game, and the gameplay is very well done. But there have been some issues that bring to light a lot of the marketing ballyhoo that Crytek has been spouting, and unless things change pretty dramatically with the final product, a lot of people will be calling b.s.

Scariness in videogames

Can videogames produce scares as effectively as movies? When did scariness become a viable element of game design? Is scariness in videogames relative? What are the scariest videogames ever made? What makes them scary? How does scariness interact with gameplay?

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